How Shangri-La relaunched its loyalty scheme around 'family'

Low Lai Chow

Back in 1997, eyebrows were raised when the Shangri-La Group – known for its luxury hotel brand – mooted the idea of a rewards program, its Corporate Loyalty and Partner Marketing Director, Wee Kee Ng, told the Loyalty World Asia conference in Singapore.

Golden Circle was the name of the loyalty scheme, and it was launched in September that year.

Fast-forward 13 years to 2009, when Shangri-La Group decided Golden Circle wasn't good enough compared to the competition – never mind if it had already gained a very respectable membership base of 1.5 million at that point.

While Golden Circle matched the loyalty programs of its competitors in areas such as recognition and exclusive benefits, it didn't have everything.

"The only thing that was missing from our loyalty program was rewards," said Wee.